Safety » 9
SAFETY | 9 out of 10
2015 Lexus NX: Five stars overall; four stars frontal; five stars side impact
'Good,' all categories of testing
'Advanced' front crash prevention
Top Safety Pick+
Thus far, the 2015 Lexus NX crossover has a very strong set of crash-test ratings, overall; although it's not quite perfect.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the NX a five-star overall rating. That includes four stars in frontal impact and five for side impact. But Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing has found this model to be top-tier in all of its categories of occupant protection.
It's fitted with eight airbags as standard: front and side bags for the two front-seat passengers, side-curtain airbags to cover the front and rear side windows, as well as a driver's knee airbag and a new front-seat passenger cushion airbag.
Optional electronic safety features include the Pre-Collision Safety System, which senses impending collisions with obstacles or other vehicles ahead via the sensors used for the adaptive cruise control. It warns the driver both with a light and a buzzer if a crash is imminent, and will brake automatically if the driver doesn't respond--bringing the NX to a full stop from speeds up to 37 mph. That system earns the IIHS 'advanced' nod for front crash prevention, enabling the IIHS TSP+ accolade.
Also available is a Lane-Departure Alert function, to warn the driver if the vehicle is drifting out of its traffic lane, based on image processing from a windshield-mounted camera. The same camera also controls automatic highlight dimming when there are oncoming vehicles, which Lexus calls Intelligent High Beams.
Like many new crossovers, the rear three-quarter vision isn't great in the Lexus NX. A rising window line meets a falling roofline to provide only a small triangular view out the rear side, and the rear-vision camera becomes a necessity for safe reversing and parking.
The 2015 Lexus NX hasn't yet been rated by the NHTSA, but the IIHS names it one of the best on the market.